Converting a Van into a Home in 3 Easy Steps

For some people, living in a van can be extremely enticing. You don’t have to pay rent and your bills decrease substantially. Living in a van is not only affordable, you can also move from one area to another with complete ease. If you love to travel and love to be on the road, living in a van completes the dream. Some of the most famous athletes and travel gurus live and travel from their vans, like professional rock climber Alex Honnold. If you’re looking to transform your van into your home that allows you to travel the country, here are three easy steps for converting a van into a home.

White van in a field with doors open. Converting a van into a home

1. Figure out your budget

The first step you should follow is figuring out your budget. If you want to have a super nice van, you can end up spending thousands of dollars on the project. You can also complete everything in under $100 dollars. Depending on what you’re looking to have and what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll have a completely different budget. So, map out what you want to do with the van before you ever use a cent of the money that you tuck away.

You might want to consider the things that you need and the things that you’ll want. If you want a countertop in the back of the van to make food on, consider using Rustoleum countertop paint instead of buying a real marble or stone countertop. This alternative is cheaper and can save you hundreds of dollars while still giving you the same classy effect. Make sure you’re keeping the budget low and taking the cheaper option when you need to.

Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland from a campervan
Skogafoss, Iceland

2. Find the van you need

If you already have the van selected and you’re just working on getting it set up, you can skip this step. If you’re looking for the van that fits you, keep reading. You definitely need to find a van that you can afford and decide how big of a van you want.

If you’re living with a few other people, you might want to buy a larger van that is more like a bus; out-of-use school buses are great options here. These buses sell for between just a few hundred bucks and a few thousand bucks, but they’re usually fairly cheap since they are no longer used for public transportation. Vans can run the same way, being either fairly cheap or averagely priced. Buy whatever you’re looking for but remember that the larger the vehicle, the more gas it will consume.

VW camper van opened up, Converting a van into a home

3. Converting the van or bus

When you’re converting the van or bus, there are a few questions you will need to consider. Remember that you’ll be traveling in the van, so first make sure everything is relatively tied down. You don’t want things to be too cramped. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • How many people will be traveling with you?
  • Will you need running water or a toilet?
  • Will you need entertainment in the vehicle?
  • Do you need or want privacy?
  • Do you want it to be obvious that the bus is a living situation? Or do you want it to be “stealthy?”

These questions are all very real to consider and they all play a part in determining how and where to place the items in the van. If you’re traveling with more than two people, you’ll need to set up multiple mattresses in the bus. If you need running water or plumbing, it’s going to become more expensive and you’ll need extra renovations–perhaps even help from a professional. For privacy, curtains and sheets will work just fine.

After you finish converting a van into a home, you can start your journey. Remember to have fun with the process and to embrace the feeling of having a stress-free life. Let the worries roll off your back, enjoy the world, and embrace the companionship of the people with you.

About Kevin Devoto

Kevin Devoto is an avid outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer. He enjoys writing about sustainability, eco friendly behaviors and local travel. He has traveled all over the world but has taken a particular interest in our great National Parks.

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